It’s another one of those opinion threads, but a recent discussion with @Gorb (A long-time friend who has somehow put up with my ‘bashing’ of this game. Bless his patience) has led to me deciding to put those thoughts regarding Dawn of War 3 done on digital paper.
I feel like I have given Dawn of War 3 ample time to impress me; I know I was heavy on the criticism before even the game was released, yet I still gave it the benefit of the doubt and purchased it. Why? Because I’m a fan of Relic, I ran Relicnews for over 10 years and have supported Relic through all their games. It’s probably why I’ve been hard on Dawn of War 3 the most.
But let’s get to my observations about this game.
Please note: these are completely my opinions and as such, I do not expect anyone to agree to them or Relic to do anything based on them.
- Elite levelling encourages grinding
The current way the Elite system is set up is one that encourages the usage of ‘Elite Grinding Maps’ to get your elite to level 10 in the fast way possible with the least amount of effort used. I’ve used these maps because I don’t have the time nor patience to play the 100 or so matches to level all my faction’s elites to level 10 the legitimate way. This is mostly because of the locking of Doctrine abilities behind level 8 of each elite. I feel like if I don’t grind them to that point and unlock it permanently that I am missing out on a potentially important doctrine ability.
This leads me to using the maps, grinding each elite to the level needed before being able to play with the effects of the doctrine. It’s not fun, but it is functional because the elite system demands it. If I don’t grind my elites I am now functionally at a disadvantage against those players that are, due to some of the elite doctrines being quite powerful and potentially faction changing (plus I’m a sucker for customisation).
I feel like the base of the elite levelling system is solid; the most you use said elite the better stuff unlocks, but the issue is gating doctrines behind the system. If the Elite levelling system was purely Skulls and Customisation options, I honestly wouldn’t have an issue with it; but the inclusion of those doctrines means that I must abuse the game to get them.
Suggested Change: Remove the Doctrines from the Elite Levels and just make them cost more skulls to unlock than the standard ones. Places players back on an even playing field with very little time preventing players from obtaining the abilities.
The more I play the game in the multiplayer setting, the more I notice the rhythm of combat: Engage, tie up/stun, nuke. The combat meta-game is effectively centred on the ability to ‘nuke’ your opponent’s units the quickest – this usefully focuses on heroes with powerful AOE attacks.
What this does is turn combat into a game of “Who can nuke the most line units the quickest?” through the usage of Stuns/tying up units then casting powerful AOE attacks/abilities into the mix. Now, this type of gameplay on its own isn’t bad, it’s actually smart from a gameplay perspective and provides players with tools to win; the problem is the low level of survivability of line units. It’s far too easy to have squads ‘deleted’ from battle very quickly, providing you as the losing player with a very low chance to provide an action to counter the combo-nuke style of game play (at least from my experience).
Is it fun? To the player winning the battles, it’s an absolute blast; you get to watch enemy units get insta-gibbed and you feel like a god-tier player doing so. To the losing player, it feels utterly unfair and downright un-fun as you’re given little chances to counter-play these actions.
Now the easy answer to this question is a typical one “Learn to Play” “Git Gud” “Adapt” and you might be right in saying that, yet at the same time; a Real Time Strategy game excels when the players are constantly going back and forth. When the game has a tug of war feel to it, where each player pushes and pulls the game their own way; rather than engage in one battle, nuke the enemies units and ensure victory. Right now, I feel like Dawn of War 3 fails to provide that push-pull tug of war feel to it. Again, you all probably don’t experience that issue or you may even enjoy it.
Solution(s): Have a cast time/increase cast time for powerful AOE nukes and have telegraphs show players where these will be cast to provide players with a chance to react in a reasonable average human time frame.